Digital therapy app proven to reduce chronic back pain by 40 percent
|Richard Harris in Apps Monday, September 24, 2018|
Digital therapy app developed by Kaia Health says that they have proven that their mobile therapy application can reduce chronic back pain by up to 40%.
Boston based digital therapy startup, Kaia Health, has launched a new app that uses AI and motion tracking technology to personalize treatment programs to manage and treat chronic low back pain (LBP) which has been shown in clinical studies to reduce chronic back pain by 40% - and "could save the US economy billions each year."
Created by Kaia Health the motion tracking technology requires no additional hardware. The app has been registered as a Class 1 medical device with the FDA which allows users to self-manage their back pain through physical exercise, behavioral exercise (e.g. relaxation and meditation) and education.
Earlier this year the digital therapy startup launched the Perfect Squat Challenge App, an Artificial Intelligence-powered motion tracking fitness app that turns a smartphone into a personal trainer. In Q4 2018 the company intends to roll out 20 more motion tracking exercises for the app.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), LBP is the single leading cause of disability worldwide. In fact, according to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) 31 million Americans experience LBP, and one half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.
The epidemic of prescription opioid overuse and abuse has also led many health groups including the ACA, the American College of Physicians (ACP) and the American Association of Pain Management (AAPM) to reconsider the value of a non-pharmacological approach to common conditions such as LBP.
The ACP updated its LBP treatment guidelines in 2017 to support a conservative approach to care. Published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, and based on a review of randomized controlled trials and observational studies, the ACP guidelines cite heat therapy, massage, acupuncture and spinal manipulation (a centerpiece of chiropractic care) as possible options for non-invasive, non-drug therapies for LBP. The guidelines state that only when such treatments provide little or no relief should patients move on to medicines such as ibuprofen or muscle relaxants, which research indicates have limited pain relief effects. According to the ACP, prescription opioids should be a last resort for those suffering from LBP, as the risk of addiction and overdose may outweigh the benefits.
The Kaia app has been developed by Kaia Health in conjunction with physiotherapists, pain management physicians, and clinical psychologists. The app uses a multidisciplinary digital approach which offers users online video-based learning programmes that cover education, physiotherapy (including exercises for the lower back and lateral muscles) and psychological strategies (including mindfulness and muscle relaxation).
The AI tailors treatment programs for each user from over 120 exercises, and motion tracking technology ensures that the exercises are performed correctly using a smartphone, tablet or iPad without the need for additional hardware.
Each session lasts for 15 minutes and can be accessed anywhere 24 hours a day. The app also features a chat function which connects users to a physiotherapist or sports scientist for motivation and exercise-related questions.
Two clinical trials into the Kaia app show a significant reduction in LBP by 40%, well above the clinical threshold of pain improvement. The second study shows a 40% long-term retention of users for a minimum of 6 months.
The Kaia app was developed in Germany where it has been downloaded over 100,000 times in its first year. The Kaia app is now being reimbursed for over 20 million patients globally.
Kaia Health is a member of the Digital Therapeutics Alliance (DTA), an association of international manufacturers for digital therapeutic products that are evidence-based.
Konstantin Mehl, CEO of Kaia Health says: “Opioid addiction and overdose is a huge issue in the US, and is, according to the ACP, the last resort for those suffering from LBP. Their 2017 LBP treatment guidelines support a non-pharmacological approach to care using non-invasive, non-drug therapies. A holistic, multidisciplinary treatment of LBP has always been a resource-intense, costly undertaking which makes it hard for patients to get access to the therapy. However, with the Kaia app, we’re digitizing therapy which offers as many patients as possible access to effective treatment of LBP. This empowers and motivates individuals to take control, and self-manage their condition with evidenced-based, non-pharmacological, cost-effective alternatives - and this could save the US economy billions each year. The Kaia app and advances in technology demonstrate why we need to rethink how we treat disease conditions such as LBP and make digital self-management a more realistic part of treatment.”
The Kaia app is available on iOS and Android and can be downloaded via GooglePlay and AppStore. The first 7 days of the program are free. To unlock the full functionality the costs are: 3 months: $23.99, 6 months: $64.99 and 12 months: $94.99.